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2018 NFL Draft scouting reports: Memphis LB Genard Avery

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Sosa Kremenjas takes a look at a potential target for the Los Angeles Rams on Day 2 of the draft.

NCAA Football: American Athletic Conference Championship-Memphis at Central Florida Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue to look forward to the 2018 NFL Draft, the largest remaining need for the Los Angeles Rams remains the LB position. I did not single it out to ILB or OLB because I think both spots are going to be question marks regardless of how excited I am to see prospects like Cory Littleton and Samson Ebukam.

With that being the case, let’s take a look at Memphis Tigers ILB/OLB Genard Avery. First thing to mention about Avery is his positional versatility. Avery can line up as an off-ball linebacker who can run plays down and impose his physical presence, or kick to the edge and offer some juice as a pass rusher.

Avery is a 6’1” and 255 lb player. In three years with the Tigers, Avery totaled 21 starts (37 games total), 152 tackles, 23.5 tackles-for-loss, 13 sacks, five pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. Just looking at his stat totals you can see how versatile he is as a defender.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump into the tape:

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On this snap Avery is lined up as an off-ball LB and right away shows his ability with a run stuff. He diagnoses the play very quickly and begins to meet the RB in the gap immediately. Avery works through the trash and makes a tough tackle on the RB for a minimal gain.

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This is one of my favorite plays from Avery as it highlights his skills very well. Running a pitch to the strong-side, Avery’s lower half generates so much power he literally slapped the TE off his feet avoiding his block, and using his pursuit and closing speed to get to the RB and make a TFL with his teammate.

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Now we finally get to see Avery line up at OLB and rush the passer. As the OT extends his hands to make contact with him, Avery uses a powerful chop move that leaves the tackle lunging forward off balance. With a successful chop Avery bends the corner and flattens to the QB for a pressure.

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Again lined up as an off-ball LB, Avery shows his ability to cover ground quickly, follow the play, evade a chop block from an offensive lineman, and still make a tackle on the RB. The tackle attempt wasn’t great, but Avery managed to get his arm on the ball forcing a fumble.

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On another pass rushing rep Avery shows a Junior Galette-like hesitation step that leaves the RT in a daze. That coupled with a terrific job bending around the edge was enough for Avery to get a hand on the QB and force another pressure.

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Avery’s athleticism is what his pass-rushing prowess is based off of, and that’s okay because he’s a terrific athlete. This OT goes to make contact with Avery, but his ability to get skinny and dodge his hands leaves the tackle blocking air and completely takes him off his base. All that’s left for Avery to do is perform a swim move that allows him to once again get a hand on the QB for a pressure.

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On this snap Avery is rushing off the RE spot. I like particularly on this rep how he “looks for contact” with his hands, ensuring that if he can keep the tackle from getting his hands on him, he’ll likely win the rep. That turns out to be correct as Avery keeps himself clean long enough to bend around the edge and flatten to the QB. He’s given a cleanup sack after his teammate misses.


Here are some of my notes after watching Avery:

  • Thick lower body that generates a lot of power
  • Tremendous athlete, very good motor
  • Great speed
  • Eyes can get him in trouble
  • Inconsistent in taking on blocks
  • Could use more pass rushing moves
  • Missed a few tackles
  • Can work through trash

The biggest question for me on Avery as a prospect is where is his home in the NFL? Will he line up at off-ball LB exclusively? Will he line up on the edge exclusively? Will he play off-ball on early downs and move to the edge on third downs? That might seem like his most likely destination.

If the Rams are looking for an athletic and physical LB who can offer a lot of versatility and skill, Avery is a prospect to watch out for.